Art and Visual Culture
Part 1: Watch the Videos (You must watch all three)
Nick Cave: Nick Cave Brings Art, Sculpture to Life, 2016. (5:22 Min)
Nick Cave creates “Soundsuits”—surreally majestic objects blending fashion and sculpture—that originated as metaphorical suits of armor in response to the Rodney King beatings and have evolved into vehicles for empowerment. Fully concealing the body, the “Soundsuits” serve as an alien second skin that obscures race, gender, and class, allowing viewers to look without bias towards the wearer’s identity. Cave regularly performs in the sculptures himself, dancing either before the public or for the camera, activating their full potential as costume, musical instrument, and living icon. Cave’s sculptures also include non-figurative assemblages, intricate accumulations of found objects that project out from the wall, and installations enveloping entire rooms.
Tanya Aguiñiga, Borderlands, 2020. (17:25 Min)
The binational artist Tanya Aguiñiga pushes the power of art to transform the United States-Mexico border from a site of trauma to a creative space for personal healing and collective expression. Reflecting the cultural hybridity and community of the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, the artist discusses her upbringing in Tijuana, her training as a furniture and craft designer, and her artistic beginnings with the Border Art Workshop/Taller de Arte Fronterizo collective.
Michael ArcegaSPAM/MAPS (Links to an external site.): World (Detail), Spam luncheon meat and pins, 3′ x 4′ x 2″, 2001
Food as a symbolic material that speaks to cultural exchange, in this case as a result of World War II. SPAM, if you aren’t already aware, is a loved/hated canned meat consumed by hungry people all over the world. It’s also “MAPS” spelled backwards. San Francisco-based artist Michael Arcega
Links to an external site. used SPAM in MAPS form, showing how the “Diasporic nature is symbolic of America’s ongoing influence on many nations.”
Written Analysis – Essay Format:
(Worth 30 points)
After you watch the videos, in your written analysis, address the art and artists featured in each video in an essay:
- How do each of these artist relate to the idea of Visual Culture?
- Did work work of these artist challenge your expectations of the creation and function of art? Give specific examples form the videos.
- Can you relate to each of their experiences? If not, why do you think that is? Explain your answers.
- How does the art made by each of these artists specifically generate emotions related to pleasure, power, and fantasy.
- How does the work of Tanya Aguiñiga relate to humanity and nature, the theme of Chapter 13?
- How does the work of Micheal Arcega, relate to the term “Visual Culture?”
- Where does this art belong? Think about it for a second. You can literally watch this videos almost anywhere in the world with internet access and experience the power, creativity, and grace of the artists. Sure you can put the remnants of their art pieces within the walls of a museum, but is that the best place for it?